Bermuda's Tyler Butterfield breaks the tape for the win.
Bermuda's Tyler Butterfield breaks the tape for the win.
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Tyler Butterfield not only beat the heat, but the rest of field as he won the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon long course in grand style and took home the 40k first place prize money.

The Bermudian, and two-time Olympian, crossed the line in six hours, 43 minutes to hold off Bas Dierderen of the Netherlands by 46 seconds. Third was Sylvain Sudrie from France, who was a further 19 seconds back.

In winning the race, he beat some of the biggest names in his sport and two that finished ahead of him at the Hawai’i Ironman. Frederick Van Lierde, who won in Kona as well as being the defending Abu Dhabi champ, and South African James Cunnama, who was fourth in Hawai’i.

Butterfield came out of the water in eighth place, but he was on the heels of the leaders.  A quick transition saw him take the lead on the bike. 

Butterfield and Cunnama led a closely-bunch pack early, but other riders were closely behind.  Heading into the transition it was down to five triathletes with Butterfield, Sudrie and Dierderen pulling away on the run. In the end, Butterfield proved to be too strong and came away with his first long-course victory.

Butterfield said: "All 12 of the guys who lined up had better credits than myself. I thought I could easily be fifth. I am happy it came off. If we raced again next week, I could easily come 10th.

"I had a really good swim, it felt really fast. I knew to hang on when on the bike. I knew the race would get better.

“I still can’t believe it all. Freddie [van Lierde] was the strongest on the bike, he raced like a champ. I couldn’t really believe I was leading as I was coming into the finish and was constantly looking over my shoulder to see who was there.

"I never take anything for granted. You can push too hard and cramp up with 2km to go and it is over when you have had it in the bag. I tried to keep it ticking over with my nutrition. With eight weeks to go I started really hard training. Unfortunately, when I am really motivated it usually does not work out for me.

"I told myself not to put too much pressure on myself. I never set out to be a professional, I just raced. I wanted to improve on third. But I was a bit more nervous with the more select field. I came here realistically thinking top five would be a good result.

"I had two gels for the last 10k, and I wanted to just hang on. Even in the last 800m, I grabbed some sports drink as I did not want to take it for granted. A minute seems a long way if you are moving well. If you have to stop, a minute can go by quickly.

“It was so great to win over the same course as my wife. In 2012 she got to carry our daughter across the line when she won. We also had a boy nine weeks ago which I think has made me train even harder for the race – maybe this was part of what helped us both lift the title here in Abu Dhabi!”